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The Dell is Back

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am back with this annoying machine, the history is is in this thread http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/XP/Q_26641268.html

Alli can get when trying to boot up is the image attached, some sort of error message. This is with trying to boot with UBCD and the Windows XP installation disk.

As MASQUERAID said in the thread,  in part "If the simple drive replacement works then great but if the controller is playing up you are cetainly better off cutting your losses."

So folks can you please help me find out if this is the controller and should i throw the machine out, or what? Remember i just bought a new HD please take a look at the thread before answering thanks!


Specs
Machine Dell Latitude C640
Model No PP01L
OS Windows XP ProSP3
HDD Seagate HD ST94019A
Processor Mobile Intel Pentium 4 - CPU 2.00GHz
BIOS Version A10
RAM 512 MB
Hard Disk 50GB
BIOS Dell Computer Corporation  A10
Service Tag 7S1KN21    

Dell-2.jpg
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Question by:Vast41
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 250 total points
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This may not be the drive controller
Usually it means either your battery pack or the optical drive isn't inserted correctly.
Try removing both and rebooting with neither bay occupied, if the error goes then replace them one at a time to find out which is the cause.
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by:Vast41
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I know how to remove battery pack but not optical drive
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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On the C640 it's the same slider catch under the base as the battery pack.  Press the slider and then pull the drive away from the laptop.
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by:stewie123
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On the bottom of tha laptop there will be a latch, also look for any screws that may be corresponding to this.

Then the drive should just slide out once all screws are removed and the latch is moved to unlock.

Or there may be and eject lever that after being pushed in, will stick out, and then eject the drive when pushed in again.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Fortunately no screws or eject lever :)
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by:Vast41
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Just so we are clear the it's the cd rom drive i am removing correct? If so i got it out along with battery. Just to confirm optical drive = CD Drive?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Yep
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by:Vast41
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Ok removed both going to fire it up right now, stand by
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by:Vast41
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Ok, it  just keeps rebooting and i get this error message (see image attched)
Dell-3.jpg
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by:dbrunton
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Have you still got the hard disk connected?  That looks like a Windows message.
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by:Vast41
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Yes i was told to take battery out and optical drive i did that, HD is still there, it's brand new.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Strictly speaking this is progress!  The hardware error is gone and Windows is at least trying to launch!

It's looking like you may need to reinstall Windows to fix that error though.

First try replacing just the CD drive and see if the original error has gone.

I remember the thread about getting you an XP installation CD which got a bit heated. Which CD are you using?
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by:Vast41
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LOL. yeah i got the same disk which worked at the end of that other thread, yes it works, i will do as you just recommended.
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by:Vast41
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Original error does not appear, second one still does, i got it to recognize the Windows XP Disk i am seeing what happens maybe i can do a repair or clean install.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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OK switch the Dell boot menu to boot from the CD drive first and try an XP Repair.
(Clean install if you've nothing you need to keep)
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by:Vast41
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Should i repair using the Recovery console or do a clean install?
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by:Vast41
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Ok
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Your call - you don't need to use Recovery Console for this
Here are step-by-step guides for both options:
http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
http://michaelstevenstech.com/cleanxpinstall.html
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Bedtime here - perhaps the NZ shift can take over ...?
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by:Vast41
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Thanks MASQUERAID it's formatting now thank you
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by:Vast41
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Already started clean install
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by:Vast41
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Disk did not accept product key but i am not going there again. So i am trying again. Got a hard disk failure message with the battery still out and optical drive in, so i am trying again with both out.
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by:Vast41
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Now all it is doing dark screen with blinking cursor on the top left, i think it's done
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 250 total points
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By that I presume you mean it isn't going anywhere.  If a reboot with no CD in the machine doesn't do anything let's try something else.

Download Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/ and write to CD.  See if it installs OK.  If it won't install and run then it is controller, or hard disk or motherboard.
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by:Vast41
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Correct just idle blinking, attempt this tomorrow thanks Dbrunton
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by:Vast41
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Ok sorry about the delay, I successfully installed Ubuntu, now what? The fact that it installed what does this say about the machine?  I don't know anything about Linux systems!
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by:dbrunton
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If you can use Ubuntu to do stuff like surf the Internet then there is probably nothing wrong with your hardware.  Have a little play with it for a day.

If it don't misbehave then the problem is your installation.

First check that your BIOS is the latest.  If not upgrade.  This will take care of any problems with large hard disks.  It seems the C640 only came with 40 Gb as standard but with the latest BIOS will handle 100 Gb with no problems.  See http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/disk-drives/f/3534/t/18211625.aspx


Could be dirty or scratched CD.  Clean and examine.
Are you using a Dell CD or standard Windows XP CD?  Sometimes only the proper Dell CD will work on Dells.

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by:Vast41
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As per my post ID:34902351 Author:Vast41 Date: 02/15/11  06:38  i had a problem with the XP Disk, i will try one more time, if the disk does not work, i am ordering Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack for the Dell, then my personal machine when ready. So this will be continued, I will check on the BIOS and i will play with Ubuntu for a day or two then try to install XP, then proceed from there. Thanks Dbrunton
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by:Vast41
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Well i am getting this error message below with and without battery and optical drive in place. Be advised the hard disk is new.


Dell.jpg
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by:Vast41
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Then i am also getting one when trying to run UBCD
Dell-1.jpg
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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It's a good job you're not costing your time on "fixing" this :)

Hit F2 at the Dell Boot screen
On Page 1 is the Primary Hard Drive shown or does it say Not Installed?
Use Alt-P to move to Page 3
Select Boot POST
Change to 'Thorough' using Left or Rgiht arrow
Reboot and post any error messages displayed.

Most likely guess is another fault in the system board is revealing itself.


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by:Vast41
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Sorry for delay It is not my machine I am doing this for free on top of my busy schedule,

I won't be back to machine till late tonight, please monitor then or anytime tomorrow thank you.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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No problem - will help as much as possible but you must let the owner know that the prognosis for a long term fix is very poor indeed.
C640's are great machines when they work well but once they go bad they are never the same.
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by:dbrunton
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If this is with Ubuntu in place then definitely motherboard problem.
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by:Vast41
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Lol owner has given up, I told her I would try with help from my special friends ;-)
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by:Vast41
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Yes with Ubuntu installed it is doing this.  Definitely mother board?
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by:dbrunton
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Check disk connections to motherboard just in case they are loose.

Note MASQ's comments which I've put below

Hit F2 at the Dell Boot screen
On Page 1 is the Primary Hard Drive shown or does it say Not Installed?
Use Alt-P to move to Page 3
Select Boot POST
Change to 'Thorough' using Left or Rgiht arrow
Reboot and post any error messages displayed.

But new hard disk.  Working Ubuntu.

I'll say motherboard.
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by:Vast41
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Ok will do
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by:Vast41
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Ok checked disk connections and no error message yet. I Hit F2 at the Dell Boot screenOn Page 1 is the Primary Hard Drive shown or does it say Not Installed?
Use Alt-P to move to Page 3 Select Boot POST
Change to 'Thorough' using Left or Right  arrow Rebooted, and no error message

My problem now is can't get mouse to move when Ubuntu boots up
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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>> is the Primary Hard Drive shown or does it say Not Installed?
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by:Vast41
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Yes it shows the drive, sorry, re-installing Ubuntu right now
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by:Vast41
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Ok back to normal with Ubuntu
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by:dbrunton
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You had to reinstall the mouse to get Ubuntu working?

Give Ubuntu a couple more days and let's see what happens.  Still think flaky motherboard.
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by:Vast41
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No I reinstalled Ubuntu not the mouse. Maybe it is mobo, we will see
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by:dbrunton
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>>  You had to reinstall the mouse to get Ubuntu working?

Mind in reverse when wrote that I did.
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by:Vast41
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Not a problem, if it turns out to be mother board, where do i get an old mother board for this machine?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Seriously it is cheaper to buy another C640 that is warranted as working and transfer the drive.  

I have stripped down so many of these I can do it in my sleep - you've already got your head 'round the drive swap.  You don't want to buy a systemboard alone.  The only chance of it being good is if the LCD is smashed otherwise they are pretty much in the state yours seems to be - intermittent, varying errors or just plain dead.  You also get lots of spare parts that way!!

eBay is as good a source as any - just make sure that the seller signs up to a return if it is dead on arrival.   Also bear in mind that all these machnies are getting on for 8-10 years old now so chances of this happening again are fairly good.
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by:Vast41
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Ok, will start looking for other C640's thanks
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by:Vast41
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Waiting on Windows 7 Disk to arrive then i will close.
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by:Vast41
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I just thought of something, will Windows 7 32bit work on this machine?
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by:Vast41
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Guess not, at least not with 512MB of RAM

Specs
Machine Dell Latitude C640
Model No PP01L
OS Windows XP ProSP3
HDD Seagate HD ST94019A
Processor Mobile Intel Pentium 4 - CPU 2.00GHz
BIOS Version A10
RAM 512 MB
Hard Disk 50GB
BIOS Dell Computer Corporation  A10
Service Tag 7S1KN21    

Windows 7
System requirements
Processor Required
1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
Memory Required
1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
Hard disk
16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
Video card
DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or later driver
Other
Additional requirements to use certain features:
¦Internet access (fees may apply)
¦Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
¦For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
¦Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
¦HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
¦DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
¦Music and sound require audio output
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by:Vast41
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Please does anyone have an opinion on this? Even though it only have 512mb of ram could i possibly install Windows 7 32 bit
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by:dbrunton
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Microsoft says 1 Gb of RAM

However it can be done (but not easily)

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/20967-install-windows-7-computer-less-than-512mb-ram.html
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by:Vast41
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A Hex??? Come on Dbrunton any other way?
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by:dbrunton
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Well look at http://www.solidblogger.com/install-windows-7-vista-server-2008-bypass-low-ram-limit/

Gives 3 methods, 1 is the hex and the other 2 may not apply in your case.

Once installed it will run.
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by:Vast41
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The Dell has 512mb of ram. Methos 2 in thios article states.

"Method 2: Adding Memory Stick to increase Memory Amount During Installation

Since Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 requires a minimum of 512 MB of memory to proceed with installation process, you have to make your system to stand up to it’s requirements. If you are using a virtual machine, you can easily use this hack to meke the installation process run without showing low memory warnings. All you have to do is to increase the amount of physical or virtual RAM to 512 MB  by adding memory stick."
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by:dbrunton
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That is for a Virtual Machine.
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by:Vast41
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Forget the vitual machine part look at this>>> "Since Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 requires a minimum of 512 MB of memory to proceed with installation process, you have to make your system to stand up to it’s requirements."
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by:Vast41
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Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 requires a minimum of 512 MB of memory to proceed with installation process
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by:Vast41
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Can this machine take another 512 OF RAM
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by:dbrunton
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>>  Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 requires a minimum of 512 MB of memory to proceed with installation process

Correct.  My mistake.  I've done more reading.

Upgradable to 1 Gb of memory.
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by:Vast41
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ok thanks
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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You can put 2x512 SODIMMs in the base & Windows 7 will run on these (I installed the beta to prove this when it came out and won a bet!)  Slow to start up but OK and of course you don't get Aero :)

Really designed for XP though
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by:Vast41
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So don't getjust one 512 stick, get two new 2x512 SODIMMs?
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by:dbrunton
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I'm presuming you have one stick.

One stick should be OK but buy from reputable source.  There is a small chance of incompatibility.

If you've got the money (and don't mind spending) spring for 2 new ones.
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by:Vast41
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512's don't cost much, thanks. Dbrunton if you are familiar with Ubuntu and Linux please look at this thread?

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Linux/Q_26848705.html
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by:Vast41
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Ok windows 7 has arrived, now i need to get the RAM, it looks like two 256 MB sticks in photo right? So i can't get one 1GB stick, i have to get two 512's yes?
RAM.jpg
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by:dbrunton
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Yes.
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by:Vast41
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2x512 SODIMMs?  They just snap out, easy to install?
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by:dbrunton
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by:Vast41
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Thanks Dbrunton
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by:Vast41
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Ok almost done looking good, upgraded RAM, installed Windows 7 ready to go, do i have to install drivers for mother board and processor again?
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by:stewie123
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Always a good idea update the bios and ensure latest drivers for motherboard cpu are installed
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by:Vast41
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
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Based on my experience with the C640 and Windows 7 I'd not install any additional drivers.  The generic W7 drivers on the installation DVD should take care of most of the hardware without any problem.
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by:Vast41
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Great thats what i am talking about, thanks MASQUERAID lol
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by:Vast41
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These two experts were great
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